Christchurch Call to Action

Prime Minister Erna Solberg's statement at the Christchurch Call to Action-meeting in New York 23 September 2019.

Check against delivery

I wish I could say that we have made progress in combating violent extremist since we last met in Paris.

Unfortunately, Norway has once again experienced the violence and hatred that online radicalisation breeds.

The young terrorist who attacked a mosque in August claims to have been inspired by the Christchurch attack.

He also intended to stream the attack live on social media.

One person was killed, the intention was to kill many more. 

So where does this leave us?

The recent attack in Norway has shown that we need efforts that specifically address the unfounded hatred towards Muslims.

My Government has started work on a new action plan to fight discrimination and hatred against Muslims in Norway. We will do this work in close co-operation and dialogue with faith groups and organisations.

As I promised in Paris, I initiated a meeting with Norwegian editors and media owners.

Prime Minister Ardern’s concern that media coverage should be informative, without contributing to the spread of terrorist propaganda was central to the meeting.

Terrorism researchers tell us there seems to be a clear connection between atrocities and the media coverage they get. We have to recognise: Terrorism is, fundamentally, a violent communication strategy.

For me, it is imperative that press freedom is upheld. In our experience, ethical self-regulation in the media has contributed to high standards.

For more than 60 years, Norwegian editor-controlled media have been regulating their own conduct using a set of ethical principles.

Editors and journalists alike are held accountable by these principles. Across all platforms.

Christchurch marked a turning point for the way the Norwegian media cover terrorist attacks.

They think more carefully about whether and how to use material and photos from attackers or witnesses.

The challenge that remains is the unorganised media - that reject the self-governing, ethical system - and that are both sensationalist and often conveyors of fake news.

Our response must rest on supporting strong, responsible and independent media organisations.

A lot of work needs to be done to eradicate violent extremism in all its forms. But we must find solutions that do not undermine fundamental freedoms and democracy in the process.